March for Rights, Respect & Fair Food – quick reportback

I’ve recently returned from an amazing week documenting the later half of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ 200-mile March for Rights, Respect and Fair Food. 

I’ve been photographing the work that the CIW has done for human rights in the agricultural industry since 2003, but this is the first time that I’ve been able to do this kind of work in the community-supported way that I’ve long dreamed of. Huge thanks to JJ Tiziou Photography’s monthly sustainers, and the 148 generous backers who supported this project on Kickstarter. Thanks to them, I’ve added 10,000 frames to my community archive of this movement.

I’ve been posting extensively about the march in the Kickstarter updates, although some of the fun insider info is available for backers only. If you scroll back through them though, you can find series of images from my days with the march (1,2,3,4,5,6a, 6b) … but below’s a little quick selection for you.

Of course, the best account of the march is directly through the voice of the farmworkers of the CIW. Check out their full recap of the march, complete with daily photo reports, videos and more!

It was an intense march, rough on all of our bodies…

…but there were beautiful moments of reflection, some intentional…

… and some accidental.

As the march progressed, more allies streamed in, eventually building to a 1,500-strong final day…

… the energy was always festive…

… even as the topics addressed are serious…

addressing both the stagnant wages…

… and degrading working conditions found in the fields.

Each one of the activists was beautiful… (one might even say photogenic)

… and the power of all of them united brought a powerful message to Publix…

… that a new day was dawning in the fields of Florida.

I love this shot because it encompasses so much of the little details of the march… A bright flag, an instrument of music, a tomato bucket, a sweaty shirt, some water and sunscreen. In the back is a youngster from Immokalee, in the foreground one of the CIW’s allies. I have a soft spot in my heart for the sound of those jaranas, and if you haven’t experienced Son Jarocho, this video clip might be a good intro.

In addition to beautiful music, David Solnit was again up to his beautiful blending of art and activism (which I long ago described in this video)…

… making beautiful banners and flags and other art.

As the sun set on another beautiful day…

Farmworkers and their allies such as fellow Philadelphian Shane Claiborne prepared a rally…

… and candlelight vigil.

As the sun set…

… I managed to sneak into one of the pictures.

After this solemn evening…

It was on to another energetic day of rallying…

… and the march resumed…

… growing longer…

… as I scrambled ahead to find high vantage points.

With the marchers cheered on….

… as more and more joined…

… media makers of all sorts joined to tell the story…

… as the marchers reached the end of their two-week, 200 mile journey.

With a new day dawning for farmworkers in the fields, students and youth allies celebrated…

… along with members of faith-based allies…

… as the members of the CIW celebrated all that they have already accomplished…

… and all of the work that is yet to come.

Thanks again to all of you for helping me share this story, and especially to those of you who chipped in on the Kickstarter campaign.

Please visit the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ website to keep up with their amazing work.

You can also check out a small portfolio of my earlier documentation of the CIW’s work.
Find more images from this series and order prints in the JJ Tiziou community archive.